Compassionate Attorneys Support Cutting-Edge Law School's Program to Help Abused and Neglected Children

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San Diego personal-injury attorney Gordon Levinson has endowed the University of San Francisco School of Law Child Advocacy Clinic with a three-thousand dollar foundation grant. The Child Advocacy Clinic advances the rights and well-being of children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents or guardians. University of San Francisco Law students enrolled in the Clinic represent children in all aspects of child welfare proceedings, including proceedings before the juvenile court, the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court.

the most significant service an attorney can provide is to advocate for victims who cannot stand up for themselves, such as children, the cognitively impaired and other disadvantaged people.

San Diego personal-injury attorney Gordon Levinson has endowed the University of San Francisco School of Law Child Advocacy Clinic with a three-thousand dollar foundation grant.

The Child Advocacy Clinic, which opened its doors in January 2005, is dedicated to advancing the rights and well-being of children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents or guardians. University of San Francisco Law students enrolled in the Clinic represent children in all aspects of child welfare proceedings, including proceedings before the juvenile court, the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. It is the only student clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area providing direct representation to minors in juvenile dependency proceedings.

The Clinic's mission is to advance the rights and well-being of children who are in jeopardy; to prepare law students to provide comprehensive, competent, ethical, and zealous advocacy for abused, neglected, and abandoned children; to educate the legal community about the critical need for skilled attorneys in the practice of child advocacy; and to raise awareness among attorneys about the opportunities for employment and pro bono activity representing children.

Law students who participate in the clinic receive academic credit for representing child clients in juvenile court proceedings before the San Francisco Superior Court.

The Child Advocacy Clinic is an opportunity for practitioners experienced in the field of child advocacy law and related fields to share their knowledge and skills with students. The Clinic is a forum for law students and the legal community to explore the issues of human rights and dignity that are confronted daily in the dependency courts, including the changing roles of families in contemporary society.

The Clinic's work is consistent with USF School of Law's overall mission to educate students to be effective and conscientious lawyers, to possess high ethical standards and to practice law with a global perspective. The law school emphasizes professional skills and quality classroom teaching. Its students learn not only how lawyers think, but also to practice doing what is required of lawyers to help clients solve problems and resolve conflicts.

The Clinic's Director is Patricia Fitzsimmons, an attorney in private practice who has represented dependent children and their parents for many years. Attorney Fitzsimmons has particular expertise regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and related federal legislation, and she has served as the attorney for the Dependency Representation, Administration, Funding and Training pilot program at the California Judicial Council's Center for Families, Children and the Courts.

Attorney Gordon Levinson, who engineered the support grant in favor of the Clinic, graduated from USF School of law in 1996. He is the owner and senior attorney at the Levinson Law Group, a personal-injury law firm dedicated to helping victims of life-changing tragedies. The firm is especially passionate about its work representing injured or aggrieved children. According to attorney Levinson, "the most significant service an attorney can provide is to advocate for victims who cannot stand up for themselves, such as children, the cognitively impaired and other disadvantaged people." For more information, go to http://levinsonlawgroup.com or call (760) 692-2260.

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